Monday, October 10, 2016

TAN-1611 - Post 5

The rough seas have subsided and the ship and data collection are ticking along nicely now with just one week left of our voyage.  Today I thought I would move away from the science to talk about about what day to day life is like on board a research vessel like the RV Tangaroa - it certainly isn’t what I expected.

Most people only have limited experience on any kind of ship, and ideas of ship life might be more akin to that shown in movies or TV shows - this is far from the reality of life on a research vessel.  Fortunately, I would say that, in general, ship life is far better than what one might expect! 
Sleeping quarters are plentiful for this particular voyage because we don’t have a full crew - the RV Tangaroa can take 40 people at full capacity but we have only 23 for this voyage.  This means everyone gets their own room; a bed, small table, chair or bench seat, and a full ensuite.  Given that people are up at all hours of the night and day for different shifts, it is quite nice to have your own room.

 The meals are always a feast fit for kings, not the unappetising gruel that movies and books illustrate on a pirate ship or navy vessel.  The cooks are probably the hardest working of anyone on the ship, making sure there are three cooked meals a day at 7:30am, 12:00pm, and 5:00pm, as well as fresh fruits and sometimes fresh baking for morning and afternoon tea.  There are always slices, cookies, and cakes on hand for those with a sweet tooth, and there is a freezer stocked with ice-cream as well.  We were lucky enough to have a full American style thanksgiving lunch yesterday - turkey, mash, carrots, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce!

Free time on the ship is spent in a variety of ways depending on your interests.  Every night there is an hour or two of card games played in the lounge area, but there is also a fairly extensive selection of DVD’s and a small library to keep the crew entertained.  There is also a small gym on board so you have a chance to work off some of the ice-cream and cake.  When the weather permits it doesn’t get much better than sitting out on the bow of the ship to soak up some sun and read a book.  Many of us have research work or study to do as well, the temptation to leave this in favour of a movie or a good book and some sun is a difficult one!

There are also regular drills performed by the ship crew to keep them on their toes.  We scientists haven’t been involved in many of these drills on this trip but it is comforting to know that the crew will be ready in the event of an accident. 

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